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HISTORY CHANNEL: THE ART OF MATHIAS POLEDNA

IN MATHIAS POLEDNA’S 16 mm black-and-white film Version, 2004, silence is deafening. The Los Angeles–based, Austrian-born artist’s most recent film features a dark space in which a group of young dancers sway languidly, their movements registering an unhurried and tranquilizing rhythm. The setting is strangely airless, a spatiotemporal vacuum that indicates nothing of its location; the music is audible only to those on screen as they weave about in a kind of trance-induced shuffle, an affectless ten-minute performance that loops repeatedly when projected. Poledna trains his camera on the dancers: We see tightly observed passages of hips, elbows, shoulders, and occasionally a face, only rarely glimpsing a broader view of the event. Without screaming “retro,” the dancers’ style appears of a certain vintage; but it’s hard to put a finger on precisely what that vintage might be. The jut of

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